Thursday, December 15, 2011

Stolen Heritage

Mountains destroyed
Hills laid low
Torn open to its heart.
Heart of the mountain
Ancient root of life
Precious black coal
Ripped from the depths
Broken and crushed
Moved, trucked and taken
From the hills of home
To power plants, factories
And homes distant
From our mountains.
The rubble, discard and ruins
Thrown down
Tumbled to the valley
Crushing and filling the hollers
With no thought
Of the beauty below
Or of ancestral homes.
Much less the sacred graves
Of those who ventured
As wayfarers
In a new land.
Appalachian pilgrims,
Pioneers forgotten.
Buried alongside
The primrose, sassafras
Honeysuckle, magnolia and sourwood.
All as if they were flowers
Forgotten at the grave
Cast off and buried
In the rubble
Of questionable progress.
Cry, Oh Appalachia
Weep oh hills and hollers.
Mourn what we have lost
Gnash your teeth
That we have allowed
Strangers
To buy,
To steal our heritage
For the sake
Of coal.

copyright Stephen Hollen  July 10, 2008
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